The Demands of the Communist Party in Germany - Marx and Engels

Engels and Marx
Engels and Marx
Submitted by libcom on February 22, 2006

The Demands of the Communist Party in Germany

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels [1]

Proletarians of all countries, unite!

1. The whole of Germany shall be declared a single and indivisible republic.
2. Every German over twenty-one years of age shall be able to vote and be elected, provided he has no criminal record.
3. Representatives of the people shall be paid, so that workers, too, will be able to sit in the parliament of the German people. 4. The whole population shall be armed. In future, the armed forces are to be forces of workers as well, so that the army will not merely be a consumer, as it was in the past, but will produce even more than the cost of its upkeep.

Furthermore, this will be a means of organizing labour.

5. The exercise of justice shall be free of charge.
6. All the feudal dues, tributes, duties, tithes, etc., which have oppressed the rural population until now, shall be abolished, with no compensation whatsoever.
7. The estates of princes and other feudal lords, and all mines and pits, etc., shall become state property. On these estates, large-scale agriculture is to be introduced for the benefit of all and using the most modern scientific aids.
8. Mortgages on peasant lands shall be declared state property. The peasants are to pay the interest on these mortgages to the state.
9. In those regions where there is a developed system of lease-holding, the ground rent or the 'lease shilling' shall be paid to the state as tax.

All the measures listed in 6, 7, 8 and 9 are designed to reduce public and other burdens on peasants and small tenant farmers, without reducing the requisite means for paying the expenses of the state and without endangering production itself.

The real landowner, who is neither a peasant nor a tenant, has no part in production. His consumption is therefore nothing but misuse.

10. One state bank shall replace all the private banks, and its note issue shall be legal tender.

This measure will make it possible to regulate credit in the interests of the whole population and thus undermine the domination of the big money-men. The gradual replacement of gold and silver by paper money will reduce the cost of the indispensable instrument of bourgeois commerce, the universal means of exchange, and reserve gold and silver for effective use abroad. Finally, this measure is needed in order to bind the interests of the conservative bourgeois to the revolution. [2]

11. All means of transport: railways, canals, steamships, roads, stations, etc. shall be taken over by the state. They are to be transformed into state property and put at the free service of the needy.
12. All civil servants shall receive the same pay, without any distinction other than that those with a family, i.e. with more needs, will also receive a higher salary than the rest.
13. The complete separation of Church and State. Ministers of all confessions are to be paid only by their congregations.
14. Restriction of the right of inheritance.
15. The introduction of severely progressive taxation and the abolition of taxes on consumption.
16. The establishment of national workshops. The state is to guarantee all workers their existence and care for those unable to work.
17. Universal and free education for the people.

It is in the interests of the German proletariat, petty bourgeoisie and peasantry to work energetically for the implementation of the above measures. Through their realization alone can the millions of German people, who have up till now been exploited by a small handfull, and whom some will attempt to maintain in renewed oppression, get their rights, and the power that they are due as the producers of all wealth.

The Committee:



1. These Demands were drawn up by Marx and Engels on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist League in Paris during the last week of March 1848. They were published there on 31 March as a leaflet, and at the beginning of April in various democratic German newspapers. In summer 1848 the Demands were reprinted in Cologne. They are translated here from the text of the Cologne leaflet, as printed in MEW 5.

2. The original text of the tenth Demand, in place of 'an die Revolution zu knüpfen' (to bind [the interests of the conservative bourgeois] to the revolution), read 'an die Regierungen zu fesseln' (to chain [the interests of the conservative bourgeois] to the governments).